I am proud to be the Digital Projects Librarian at the Montana Historical Society (MHS), working with local libraries and museums to digitize their local historic newspapers.

These types of projects make local history accessible to everyone, which is essential as we move further into the digital age. But cuts to the state budget put it all at risk.

Due to the initial state budget cuts, the section I worked in no longer exists. Digital Services, part of the Research Center, was responsible for setting up a digital preservation system. The percentage of digital photos, documents, and government records is increasing -- that’s why digital preservation system is important.

How many of you have tried to open an old file and failed? How many different versions of Microsoft Office have you used in the last 10 years? Do you remember WordPerfect? Digital preservation makes sure that the electronic records created today are still accessible in 10, 20, 30-plus years.

Now, as we fall further behind due to budget cuts, there’s no one working on digital preservation and no money to fund it. I call on Montana’s legislators to do the right thing: Raise revenue and fund Montana’s state services.

Natasha Hollenbach

East Helena

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